A different kind of March madness takes over today as hockey fans throughout Snohomish County plunk down their hard-earned money for the opportunity to watch the hottest sport around.
The Silvertips are in the playoffs again and, as devotees are accustomed to hearing at each home game, it’s time to make some noise. This playoff season isn’t about recapturing last season’s magic – that is a wonderful memory. It’s about appreciating this year’s team for its accomplishments and wildly cheering it on to a postseason sun all its own.
The Tips scored 77 points during the regular season, a mere three fewer points than last season, when the team claimed the division championship. And more people watched them this year, too. In fact, we’re already over the 500,000 mark in attendance for last season and this season combined.
Many die-hard groups already have their playoff tickets in hand. Others will likely line the sidewalk outside the Everett Events Center today for a chance to see the Tips take on the Portland Winter Hawks next Tuesday night. Until then, they’ll catch the first two games of the series at Portland’s Rose Garden on the radio, in hopes of hearing broadcaster Keith Gerhart’s screams of victory once again.
As Zoran Rajcic, the Silvertips’ director of sales and marketing, told Herald columnist John Sleeper, Tips fans still don’t know all the ins and outs of the sport, but they sure get excited about it – all of it.
As opposing teams’ fans learned last season when they visited the Everett Events Center for playoff games, this house is loud. Maybe it’s because we don’t grasp the finer points of the game. Maybe it’s because we’re still so grateful for a new sport and a roster of players who helped bring a downtown back to life on a weeknight, let alone a weekend.
Perhaps that first season’s magic is still alive.